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Victims search for vehicles after bust of Old Harbour car-theft ring

Fredrick Jackson turned up at the Old Harbour Police Station in St Catherine on Thursday, clinging to hope that his Nissan Wingroad, stolen in Clarendon last December, was among vehicles recovered in a car-stealing ring crackdown on Sunday in the parish.

About 11:41 a.m. Thursday, he asked police personnel at the station if the mentioned model car was among the 11 reportedly recovered.

After roughly two minutes, he was informed that the vehicle was not listed.

Jackson told The Gleaner, outside the station, that on the night of December 22, 2022, car thieves poisoned his dog and made off with his vehicle.

“It was parked in my yard. They came, and first thing, dem poison the dog. If stranger come and the dog see dem, him a go bark. Dem poison him and keep him quiet. Mi have the keys, everything for the car, so dem get to the car, pull it and go in. The car have on a kill switch on it. Either dem drive away or dem tek wrecker tek up it,” Jackson said.

He told The Gleaner that the hoodlums entered his yard where he lived in Sandy Bay at the time, leaving him stunned when he woke up in the morning.

“The car just missing ... a just the spot me see. Right down in the 22nd (Christmas time) on a Tuesday morning. Nah get nothing from the May Pen police or nothing,” Jackson said.

It was a recent newscast he heard that notified the public that a car-stealing ring had been unearthed in Old Harbour and he decided to, for the first time, act on it by making his own checks.

Even after he was told by police that his car was not listed, he then drove to Locksley’s Auto Mart and Wrecking Service’s lot on Old Harbour Road, where some of the recovered vehicles were being housed for the police.

Jackson took his time wandering around on the outside of the perimeter fence, trying to get a glimpse of the cars and parts seized on the inside.

The Gleaner that several persons turned up and examined the cars and items recovered from a premises in Gordonwood district in St Catherine.

The employee also told The Gleaner that they were no longer allowing anyone on to the lot.

Jackson shared that part of the problem is that the illicit operations of car thieves involve several persons colluding and working in some remote areas to trade on the black market in auto parts.

When The Gleaner arrived at the remote location in Gordonwood district, neighbours were carrying on with their usual activities, seemingly not disturbed by the recent news surrounding the space.

The police in St Catherine have issued an appeal for citizens to take more care in securing their vehicles following the dismantling of the major car-theft ring on Sunday.

Following the operation, two men were arrested, according to Superintendent Hopeton Nicholson, head of the St Catherine South Police Division.

Nicholson said the police, following several leads, conducted a number of enquiries that led them to the area.

The seized vehicles are six Nissan AD wagons, a Nissan Tiida, a Mitsubishi Lancer, two Toyota Wish minivans, and a Toyota Avensis.

Along with these, the police also recovered a substantial cache of car parts, also believed to be stolen.

The Old Harbour Criminal Investigation Branch has taken over the case and is currently conducting investigations into the operations.

The Gleaner reported last week that the St Andrew North police, in seeking to curtail rampant car thefts in Havendale and Meadowbrook, have seen a ballooning of the practice in other sections of the division.

Superintendent Tamika Service, head of the St Andrew North Police Division, told The Gleaner that her team has formed a special unit to treat with these acts.

“... Most of the vehicles that are stolen, they take them to both St Catherine and St Andrew South Division,” Service told The Gleaner last month.

The Old Harbour police said their investigation into the recent bust is ongoing.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com